Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Eternal and Everlasting

The difference of emphasis between Eastern and Western Christianity can be seen in little things. For example, in the Western Rites we pray

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.
whereas in the Eastern Rites
Glory be to the Father + and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
now and ever, and forever.
It may seem a small thing, the difference between the last two phrases, yet it shows the difference in emphasis. The Western focus on beginning, present, and future, with its implicit notion of sequential time--everlasting life. The Eastern focus is on the now as it is across time, as we experience it in Heaven--eternal life. Both are important for Christians, as we contemplate God both incarnate in time and beyond time as a mystery.
O Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth! You are everywhere present and fill all things. Treasury of Blessings and Giver of Life, come and dwell within us, cleanse us of all stain, and save our souls, O gracious Lord.

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